My 2019 Goals

I’m really big on setting goals. I want to constantly be improving something about myself — getting smarter, better, faster, stronger, etc. Setting goals helps me actually work towards things I deem important and track my progress along the way.

I spent some time a few weeks ago thinking through what I wanted the end of 2019 to look like and setting some goals for how to get there. I’m adding these goals here as a reference for myself each month and as an accountability tool.

I’ve broken up my goals into 5 areas: Spiritual, Physical, Financial, Personal, and Work. If anything jumps out at you that you’re curious about, let me know!

Quotes for 2019

  • Prioritize & Execute”
  • “Plan your work, work your plan”
  • Learn in Public”
  • “If it’s not a HELL YES, it’s a ‘No'”
  • “Discipline === Freedom”


By the end of 2019, I want to:

  • delight in Christ more.
  • have consistent family worship.
  • consistently pray for my brothers and sisters from church.
  • consistently pray for the lost.
  • have participated in more fellowship opportunities with my church.
  • have discipled two people.
  • have more meaningful, intentional time with my wife.


By the end of 2019, I want to:

  • have a 1,350lb total (bench, squat, deadlift).
    • have a 550lb deadlift.
    • have a 450lb squat.
    • have a 350lb bench.
  • have won 1st place in 1 powerlifting meet.
  • have won 1st place in 1 BJJ competition.
  • have received my blue belt in BJJ.
  • have seen a dermatologist to clear up my skin (wow, I feel old setting a goal like this).
  • have worked through my treatment plan with my dentist (I’ve been avoiding braces for years but I need to just knock it out).
  • have drastically improved (or at least corrected) my shoulder mobility issues.
  • have corrected my hip mobility issues.


By the end of 2019, I want to:

  • be debt free.
  • have saved at least $10,000 between savings and investments.
  • be making $90,000 per year (excluding freelance work or any side hustles).
  • be able to give away $2,000 per month by January 2020.
  • be earning at least $3,000 per month from side hustles.
  • have saved at least $20,000 in the DevLifts account.
  • have repaired my credit to be above 720.


By the end of 2019, I want to:

  • have read 10 books.
  • have learned 3 songs (in a genre I like) on guitar.
  • have started playing drums again.
  • have taken my wife to Disney World and paid cash for the trip.
  • have learned Spanish enough to have a conversation.


By the end of 2019, I want to:

  • have published 2 mobile apps with React Native.
  • have deployed 1 product-level full-stack JavaScript + GraphQL app.
  • have grown my mailing list to 1,000 subscribers.
  • have grown my Twitter followers to 3,000.
  • have given at least 1 conference talk.
  • have published at least 1 Egghead course.
  • have published 30 Egghead lessons.
  • have launched at least 1 but no more than 3 side hustles.
    • Maybe (100% transparent, remote-only job board)
    • Maybe a t-shirt line for powerlifters
    • Maybe a church directory SaaS
    • ???
  • have launched 2 seasons of my podcast for beginners with Joe Previte.
  • have helped Thad learn to code enough for him to get a job.
  • have taken 10 local devs to lunch (my treat) and gotten to know them a little.
  • have taught 3 workshops.
  • have grown DevLifts to $10,000/mo revenue and have 1,000 active members.
  • have launched the public DevLifts API.
  • have launched the private DevLifts API.
  • have launched the DevLifts mobile app.
  • have published 10 high-quality articles/tutorials.
    • to FreeCodeCamp
    • to Hacker Noon
    • to CSS Tricks
    • ???
  • have given 5 Meetup talks.
    • Publish them on YouTube and Github
  • have created 3 open source libraries and have at least 100 users total.
  • consistently be having the local developer meetup twice per month.
  • consistently be having the local tech entrepreneurs meetup once per month.

October 2018 Goals Review


  • ✅ Refactor new feature and state architecture at work
  • ✅ Get DevLifts to $2,000/mo revenue
  • ✅ Welcome 10 new DevLifts open source contributors
  • ✅ Make at least an additional $2,000 in freelance income
  • ✅ Make 1 non-DevLifts open source PR
  • ???? Sort through my Evernote
  • ???? Complete at least one coding course in my queue
  • ✅ Hit 450lb on deadlift
  • ???? Hit 405lb on squat
  • ???? Hit 305lb on bench
  • ???? Read 1 book
  • ???? Land a bow and arrow choke
  • ✅ Pay off 1 debt


✅ Refactor new feature and state architecture at work

This is basically finished, with just a little bit left to go in this sprint!

✅ Get DevLifts to $2,000/mo revenue


✅ Welcome 10 new DevLifts open source contributors

Achieved! We welcomed 7 new contributors on our API and CLI projects, and there were 2-3 more we welcomed on other repos — so this is basically achieved.

✅ Make at least an additional $2,000 in freelance income


✅ Make 1 non-DevLifts open source PR

One?! Ha! I made 4! This month, I contributed to Gatsby, Spectrum, and React State Museum. Hacktoberfest mission: accomplished! ????

???? Sort through my Evernote

Didn’t make much progress on this one at all. Geez! Get it together, man!

???? Complete at least one coding course in my queue

I didn’t complete any of the courses in my queue, but I did go through a lot of Kent C. Dodds’ new Testing JavaScript course.


✅ Hit 450lb on deadlift

Achieved! I hit 460lb on October 14. ????????

???? Hit 405lb on squat

I didn’t quite hit this yet. Last max day was October 14, and I squatted 390lb. I think I could hit 405lb fresh today, but I won’t know for a while. I think my next max day is over a month away.

???? Hit 305lb on bench

I didn’t quite hit this yet. On my last max day, I benched 290lb. It went up, but not to 305lb yet!

???? Read 1 book

Wow, such no read. I really miss the habit of reading before bed, and I really want to get back into that. But my wife and I have been enjoying watching Friends for the first time this month, so that’s what I’ve been doing before bed.

???? Land a bow and arrow choke

I missed a couple of weeks of BJJ this month because of traveling, so I haven’t had as much opportunity to achieve this goal. Haven’t done it yet!

✅ Pay off 1 debt

Achieved! We fixed my wife’s car ($2,200 ????) finally after 6 months of me driving it because it wasn’t very safe. Feel’s good!

Goals for October 2018


Refactor new feature and state architecture at work

Now that I’ve completed my first feature at my new job, I’ve learned a lot and kept a running list of things I’d like to refactor. I’ve also realized that Redux may be a better fit for our state architecture than our current setup, so I’ll be working to refactor that as well.

Get DevLifts to $2,000/mo revenue

We are currently at $1.5k/mo at the time of this writing. I have a trip to planned for this month, and I’ll be spending nearly two weeks in Atlanta during that time. I hope to connect with a lot of developers (and existing customers!) during this time and welcome some new members into the community!

Welcome 10 new DevLifts open source contributors

This month is Hacktoberfest, which means you can get a free t-shirt from Digital Ocean by making at least 5 pull requests to any Github-hosted repo. I’m aiming to welcome at least 10 new contributors to our API and CLI projects during this month!

Make at least an additional $2,000 in freelance income

My wife and I have very specific financial goals over the next couple of years, and I’ve calculated that I need to make at least an extra $2,000 at the very minimum this month to stay on track towards where we want to be.

Make 1 non-DevLifts open source PR

I’m still aiming to make a PR to Gatsby (left over goal from August). I really hope to be able to spend time checking out Gatsby and ultimately making a contribution.

Sort through my Evernote

This is another one left over from August. I still haven’t gotten around to this, and it’s driving me crazy. What’s worse is there’s a very real possibility I’ll do all this work and then migrate everything over to Notion. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

At the time of writing, I have 1,022 notes in Evernote. I probably add roughly ~20 per week, so I’ll need to sort about 35 per day in order to sort all of them during October. I’ve created a recurring task in Todoist to remind me every day to sort 35 notes, which I expect to only take about 10 minutes per day.

Complete at least one coding course in my queue

I’m aiming to complete at least one of the following courses:

  • Advanced React (Wes Bos)
  • JavaScript30 (Wes Bos)
  • React Native for Everyone (Level Up Tutorials)
  • Learn Node (Wes Bos)


Hit 450lb on deadlift

I’m currently sitting at 425lb as of last Sunday, so I’m aiming to get to 450lb this month. I was there last summer. Let’s do this.

Hit 405lb on squat

I hit a new PR of 385lb last Sunday. I have a powerlifting meet coming up later this year. 4 plates on each side (405lb) is within reach. Time to get some!

Hit 305lb on bench

I’ve been stalled at 285lb for 6 weeks. My coach has modified my plan to see if we can correct this issue. I’m going to give everything I’ve got to get to 305lb this month.

Read 1 book

I’ve chosen Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Wilink (I’m a big fan) and Leif Babin. 

Land a bow and arrow choke

Left over from August goals, I still haven’t landed one of these in a live roll! I have to show up to Gi class as often as possible and try to figure out how to force people into turtle position.

Pay off 1 debt

Like I said before, my wife and I have very specific financial goals right now. I’m aiming to pay off a $1,400 debt this month as well as fix her car (~$2,100).

August 2018 Goals Review

Last month, I set some goals for myself for the month. It’s now September 10, so I’m obviously a bit late at checking up on these to see where I’m at and set some new goals for September. I’m still struggling to keep up the habit of constantly writing and spending an hour a week reviewing progress on the important things I’ve set out to do.

Goal 1: Ship new feature at work

Status: Partially succeeded.

Feature is 95% complete and nearly ready to deploy. There’s definitely some refactoring to do, but the feature is complete apart from a couple of minor tweaks/fixes. It has not been deployed yet, as there are a few infrastructure changes to make to get the React environment up and running in production. 

Goal 2: Land a bow and arrow choke

Status: Failed.

I ended up missing quite a bit of Gi classes in August so I could ship this feature at my day job, and a gi is required to land a bow and arrow choke. So I failed this one. One thing I can do better this month is prioritize going to Gi class, and not let it get pushed to the back burner. There’s probably a deeper lesson in here about managing my priorities and time alongside my day job, and knowing when to let work take priority vs when to not.

Goal 3: Get DevLifts to 60 paying fit.Start members

Status: Accomplished.

We blew past this goal and landed somewhere around 100 paying customers, crossing past $1.2k/mo in recurring revenue!

Goal 4: Take a few days off with my wife

Status: Accomplished.

And it was awesome.

Goal 5: Finish 1 freelance project

Status: Accomplished.

I actually shipped two freelance projects!

Goal 6: Read 1 book

Status: Failed.

I made it through the Preface. Wow. Shame.

Goal 7: Make 1 open source PR

Status: Failed.

I didn’t prioritize this enough and it ended up getting pushed to the back burner.

Goal 8: Sort through my Evernote

Status: Failed.

I never even started. I really don’t want to do this, but it still needs to be done. I know it’ll be so much better when it’s organized.

Goal 9: Restart my newsletter

Status: Failed.

In hindsight, I don’t think I’m ready to restart this yet. I want to get my writing habit re-established and also get a few more things off my plate so I can really do a good job on my newsletter when I do re-launch it.

Won some, lost some. Going to keep marching forward.

August 2018 Goals – Check-up 1

Last week, I set some goals for myself for this month. I’m circling back around now that it’s been a week to check in with myself and see how my progress is coming along.

Goal 1: Ship new feature at work

Status: In progress, on track

If you’ve been following my worklogs, you already know I cost myself a few days of work this past week by forcing a state architecture that wasn’t a good fit. But I’ve made some good progress and should still be able to ship a minimum usable feature by Wednesday.

Goal 2: Land a bow and arrow choke

Status: Not on track

The past couple of weeks I have found myself working too late at the office to make it to jiu jitsu most days, so I haven’t gotten any gi classes in (a gi is required to land this choke). But I’m going tomorrow evening and will be solely focused on this. We’ll see!

Goal 3: Get DevLifts to 60 paying fit.Start members

Status: In progress, possibly on track

This past week we welcomed 7 new [paying] members to the community, and we had 3 cancellations, brining our total paying members to 33. We have an ad going up this week as well as some exciting announcements this week and next week, so I think we’re going to get there.

Goal 4: Take a few days off with my wife

Status: On track

This is happening. I’ve already let my boss know that I’m taking a few days off at towards the end of the month. Still hoping we can afford to go out of town, but that’s most likely not going to happen. The downtime will still be very beneficial, though!

Goal 5: Finish 1 freelance project

Status: In progress, on track

I should wrap up at least one project in the next two weeks, if not two!

Goal 6: Read 1 book

Status: Not started, possibly on track

I still haven’t started a book for this month. If I start today, maybe I can still finish it by the end of this month (I’m a very slow reader).

The book I’ve chosen to read is Knowing God by J.I. Packer.

Goal 7: Make 1 open source PR

Status: In progress, on track

I haven’t made a PR yet, but I did pair with Kurt Kemple from GatsbyJS this past week, and I’ve found a good issue that I can work on!

Goal 8: Sort through my Evernote

Status: Not started, ¯_(ツ)_/¯

This is such a mountainous task. I need to at least start chipping away at it a little at a time or I’m definitely not going to make it.

Goal 9: Restart my newsletter

Status: Not started, possibly on track

I haven’t started this yet, but I’m hoping to at least start mailing out my blog posts as a starting point. It’d be better to actually write an email, though.

Goals for August 2018


Ship new feature at work

The feature I’ve been working on at my day job is supposed to ship on August 15. My goal is at minimum to ship it with usable compatibility back to IE11. If there’s time, I also want to ensure we have documentation, unit tests with Jest, possibly E2E tests with Cypress, no ESLint issues, good error handling, stories added to Storybook, and type checking moved to Flow. I suspect I won’t get to many of these things before August 15, but it’s still my goal to complete these things in August.


Land a bow and arrow choke

I’ve been practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu the past 11 months (although I took about 4 months off in the middle and almost quit), and recently I drilled the bow & arrow choke, and I’ve been pretty exclusively going for it during Gi class. I haven’t actually landed one yet in a live roll, but it’s my goal this month.


Get DevLifts to 60 paying fit.Start members

We launched fitStart a few weeks ago, and right now we are at 41 total members, with 29 of those being paid memberships. My goal for August is to double that and get to 60 paying members.


Take a few days off with my wife

I started the new job 6 weeks ago, and I’ve still been trying to grow DevLifts on nights and weekends. I also have a few freelance projects I’ve been working on during off hours, too. This has resulted in working 12-14 hour days most days the past 6 weeks, including some Saturdays.

This is certainly not manageable, and it won’t be this bad much longer (as I’m wrapping up a lot of outstanding freelance projects I had going on before I started my job), but it has gotten me to a near-burnout status. Plus, I haven’t had much time to spend with my wife.

After I ship this new feature at Trinity, I’m going to take 2-3 personal days, combine it with a weekend, and just hang with my wife. If we can afford it, we may go to beach ????. No phone, no computer — just summer vibes. ????☀


Finish 1 freelance project

As I mentioned above, I have a lot of outstanding freelance projects that were active before I started at Trinity. My goal this month is to finish at least 1 of them.


Read 1 book

I fell out of the habit I had earlier this year of reading before bed, and my goal is to re-establish that. I think this will be great for me, as I’ve been getting the ‘ol eye twitches (I suspect from too much screen exposure) and my sleep has been pretty poor. Pretty sure I’m over-stimulated. I’ll be re-establishing reading (specifically, reading fiction, as it’s been proven to help you sleep better by getting your brain into a beta state vs alpha) and eliminating screens an hour before bed time this month.

I’m a pretty slow reader, so I’m shooting pretty low (just 1 book).


Make 1 open source PR

I made my first open source Pull Request a few weeks ago, but it wasn’t much (just a docs tweak). I’m pairing with a dev from Gatsby next week, and I’m hoping to learn more about the project and find an issue I can contribute to.


Sort through my Evernote

I follow the GTD philosophy using Todoist and Evernote. However, my Evernote has fallen a bit out of organization with everything going on the past 6 months, so I have about 400 notes in my Inbox that need to be tagged and archived. It’s been on my todo list for months, and I’m going to finish that this month.


Restart my newsletter

I used to write a weekly newsletter with helpful tips for entrepreneurs and developers. I’m planning to re-launch my newsletter this month, but need to finish thinking through the format.

I think I’m going to write exclusively for devs for now (and maybe make a separate entrepreneur list later), and I’m going to write daily emails instead of weekly.

I’ll tell you how it all went in September! ????